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Council tax

Council tax arrears

If you experience difficulty paying your bill:

  • contact our Council Tax department immediately - don't wait until we send you a reminder
  • we can check whether you're getting all the council tax discounts and exemptions you're entitled to

To support you with council tax debts, we've developed a Council Tax Collection Good Practice Protocol with Citizens' Advice York.

How we deal with missed council tax payments

If you get behind with your council tax payments, we'll send a reminder letter to let you know how much you need to pay to bring your account up to date.

We only issue up to 2 reminder letters in each financial year - any further late payments will lead to our Council Tax recovery process being used.

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Council tax recovery process

If you don't pay, or fail to make future Council Tax payments on time:

  • you lose the right to pay by instalments
  • you have to pay the full amount
  • we issue a summons
  • we take action through the Magistrates Court to obtain a liability order against you
  • costs associated with issuing a summons and obtaining a liability order are added to your bill

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Court summons for council tax arrears

If you've recently received a court summons for council tax arrears:

  • you don't have to attend court unless you want to dispute your case
  • you can propose a Special Payment Arrangement online before the date of your court hearing
  • we'll confirm whether we accepted your Special Payment Agreement
  • we'll send a 'Special Payment Arrangement Confirmation'
  • you must make the agreed payments on time

If you don’t agree a Special Payment Arrangement and haven't paid the full balance before the court hearing, we'll send a 'Notification of Liability Order' after the court hearing. We can then:

  • take payments directly from your earnings
  • take payments directly from your Income Support or Pension Credit
  • instruct bailiffs to seize your goods and sell them at auction

Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to your debt; the government set the bailiff fee.

If you feel that a summons has been issued in error, see our guidelines as to when you might be able to raise a summons or liability order dispute.

Please note that requesting a Special Payment Arrangement at summons stage will not prevent an account from following the full council tax recovery process, including liability order and the associated court costs.

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Liability order for council tax arrears

If you're behind with council tax payments and you've received a Notification of Liability Order you must:

  • contact our Council Tax Recovery Team to agree to settle your arrears and avoid further action or costs
  • complete a Special Payment Arrangement to propose a plan to clear your arrears
  • clear all arrears before the end of the current financial year

If you feel you are unable to clear your arrears within the current financial year (by 31 March) contact the Council Tax Recovery Team.

If you feel that a liability order has been issued in error, see our guidelines as to when you might be able to raise a summons or liability order dispute.

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Bailiffs and enforcement action for council tax arrears

If you do not agree a way forward to clear your council tax arrears within the current financial year, we may refer your debt to a bailiff company (known as 'enforcement agents'). Enforcement agents that operate on our behalf have a formal contract and are monitored for customer service.

Any further costs due to bailiff action will be added to you debt.

The government Taking Control of Goods Regulations (2013) set costs charged by enforcement agents in 3 stages:

  • compliance stage: £75.00
  • enforcement stage: £235.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00
  • sale or disposal stage: £110.00 + 7.5% of any debt over £1,500.00

If the final stage is reached, further fees may apply.

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Corporate Debt Policy

We have a duty to ensure that all revenue owed is collected efficiently and effectively, in line with our Corporate Debt Policy, for the benefit of all our tax payers.

We aim to be an exemplary organisation in regard to the collection of debt. The policy affirms the use of best practice methods providing high standards of customer service dealing with all customers in a fair and inclusive manner, whilst giving careful consideration to the needs of vulnerable customers.

View the City of York Council Corporate Debt Policy.

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Council Tax Arrears Benefits Advice Project

If you're on a low income or are struggling to pay your council tax bill you may be able to apply for a range of welfare benefits and other support. In addition, if you have received a council tax reminder and are unable to pay your next instalment you can contact our Council Tax Arrears Benefits Advice Project.

How the project will work

The benefits adviser will work with people and look at why they are unable to pay their council tax. They will then work with them to agree a plan of action, including, where appropriate, a benefits check, maximising income and providing budgeting support.

An initial appointment will be made with residents to discuss their situation and the support available. This may be by phone, in person at West Offices or a local community venue, such as library or community centre. Any further follow-up actions will be agreed between the resident and the adviser, as required.

To get support please email: Alternatively, you can attend a drop-in session on Tuesdays from 1.00pm to 2.30pm at Marjorie Waite Court, Evelyn Crescent, Clifton, York, YO30 6DX.

This project cannot assist If you have received a summons. Please follow the guidance on the letter or for more advice please visit:

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Also see

Council Tax Recovery Team

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 551195

Council Tax appointments

To get council tax advice in person at West Offices, you need to make an appointment.

Make an appointment